Interfaith Liaison Committee call to COP28

As previously mentioned here, on November 30, 2023, the first day of COP28- the UN climate conference- in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, people of faith, including members of the PC(USA) COP delegation gathered at Christ Church, Jebal Ali, to hold a Talanoa dialogue, helping to define the call from people of faith to COP28.8 December 2023, Dubai, United Arab Emirates: People from a variety of faith traditions gather at the United Nations climate summit COP28 for an interfaith walk through the venue, calling together from their respective perspectives for climate justice. Behind them, the words ‘Unite. Act. Deliver.’ sit on the wall. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

A Talanoa dialogue is a way that people in the Pacific come together to discuss and decide on difficult issues facing their communities.  A Talanoa asks, and the people who are present answer, three questions:

  1. Where are we at?
  2. Where do we want to go?
  3. How do we get there?

This Talanoa was hosted by the Interfaith Liaison Committee to the UNFCCC.  ILC’s purpose is to bring together people of faith who participate in climate justice work, particularly in UNFCCC spaces, to coordinate and act together, and the Talanoa is a key part of ILC’s work each year. ACT Alliance is part of the ILC, along with the WCC, LWF, and a wide range of other organizations.

On December 8, the ILC shared their Call to COP28 with the UNFCCC Secretariat.  The call addresses a range of justice topics within the climate negotiations including

Climate change & intergenerational justice

“Roll up the black carpet; Its time to Kick Big Polluter Out” Action by UK Youth Climate Coalition during the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 at Expo City Dubai on December 8, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by COP28 / Walaa Alshaer)

The climate crisis is endangering the future of coming generations. Youth face inexcusable levels of inequity, and that inequity will persist if children and youth are not included in the decision-making now. Young people must be supported, including through education, in order to fully engage in the COPs decision-making processes. 

We call upon COP 28 to

  • Recognize next generations in COP discussions as part of the solution
  • Make every effort to ensure that youth are included in all climate policies and actions and prioritize youth in decision-making with a guaranteed youth quota in all decision-making bodies
  • Ensure that youth voices and participation are supported in learning about the processes so they can be effective in their roles and establish opportunities to build capacities and enable youth to meaningfully engage

Indigenous Peoples’ participation in the negotiations

8 December 2023, Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Rev. James Bhagwan of the Pacific Conference of Churches speaks as people from the Pacific islands convene a public advocacy action at the United Nations climate summit COP28, declaring ‘We are not drowning. We are fighting.” Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Indigenous Peoples presence at COPs has been tokenistic at best. The Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Platform is encouraging, but the imperative to include Indigenous voices in climate decisions has never been more urgent.

We call upon COP 28 to

  • Grow and strengthen Indigenous Peoples’ representation in decision-making processes
  • Embed and acknowledge Indigenous rights, voices and knowledge in mitigation, adaptation, and across all policy areas and funds
  • Act to protect Indigenous human rights and environmental defenders.

Gender-inclusive climate action & the Gender Plan of Action

Members of various faiths at The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development’s ‘Interfaith Walk’ during the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 at Expo City Dubai on December 8, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by COP28 / Neville Hopwood)

We cannot talk about Mother Earth and ignore the gender dimensions of climate change. Women and girls are fourteen times more likely to die in climate-induced disasters than men and boys. At the same time, women’s particular experiences can contribute to effective climate actions.

We call upon COP 28 to

  • Acknowledge women’s unique resources and competencies for dealing with climate change
  • Consider national women’s action plans, including revamping economic indicators
  • Include women in decision-making bodies and mainstream gender across all platforms

Climate finance

8 December 2023, Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Delegates from the Lutheran World Federation, ACT Aliiance, Christian Aid and other Christian traditions gather for a public advocacy action at the United Nations climate summit COP28, highlighting that false solutions for climate finance will crumble like a house of cards, as the world grapples with the climate crisis. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Rich and industrialized nations have a moral obligation to pay for mitigation and adaptation efforts in poor and climate-vulnerable nations. Climate finance is not charity. It is about paying a fair share based on the Polluter Pays Principle and Common but Differentiated Responsibility.

We call upon COP 28 to

  • Ensure public and private finance are flowing in the same direction: away from fossil fuels investments towards climate action
  • Amplify Global South voices in climate finance negotiations
  • Ensure that climate finance is need-based and takes the form of grants rather than loans

The Call to COP28 also addresses mitigation and just transition, the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), loss & damage, the Global Stocktake (GST), human rights, and international food systems & agriculture. The full statement can be found here.

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